Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy recently entered into the multi-state coalition “States for Gun Safety,” which is dedicated to decreasing gun violence by facilitating communication between states regarding who is barred from purchasing or owning firearms as well as tracking and intercepting illegal guns.
The coalition is composed of six states including New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Massachusetts, Delaware and the territory of Puerto Rico joined Monday.
“Connecticut has some of the strongest gun safety laws in the country. But Hartford police officers often see guns from states with looser gun laws used in crimes in our city,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said. “I’m proud that governors in our region are stepping up to curb the flow of out-of-state guns and to do long-needed research on gun violence.”
President of UConn Against Gun Violence Elizabeth Charash said she thinks this coalition will help fight gun violence.
“I think a lot of the best laws that have come out of our nation have come from states applying pressure to the national government,” Charash said. “There has been a lot of inaction in Congress and the way to encourage Congress to take further steps is by showing it can be done on the state level.”
Charash said she believes the coalition’s goal of keeping better track of illegally-acquired firearms will increase understanding of the problem.
“That’s the beauty of the pact that Connecticut just entered into. We don’t have information about where (guns) are coming from, who they’re being distributed to,” Charash said. “It’s not just a background check, it’s the supply side.
Charash said she feels one of the major issues with gun control on the federal level is the lack of a satisfactory standard to determine if someone may purchase a gun.
“We can’t have the lowest standard possible because that endangers all of our citizens,” Charash said.
She thinks one of the major blockades to passing such standards is a concern for states being stripped of their legislative rights. She added that she feels the government’s duty to protect its citizens lives should dominate over these concerns.
Charash said northeastern states, which make up a majority of the coalition, have uniquely progressive constituencies on the issue of gun reform.
“That doesn’t hold true across the country, which is why I think you see a lot of tension in Congress, just because there are more competing interests,” Charash said.
Charash said she believes the debate over gun control needs to move away from a debate over the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to a discussion of protecting the lives of American citizens.
“The conversation needs to shift away from a conversation about the Second Amendment and focus more on the people that are dying,” Charash said. “Because my right to bear arms doesn’t count if I don’t live.”